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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  August 8, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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moe brooks for pushes for in the house and what ted cruz pushes for in the senate. in the alabama republicans reject him, that would be more broad reality. >> it's loout strange and roy moore in a runoff, roy moore could be a united states senator. thank you both. that is all in for this evening. the rachel maddow show starts right now with the one and only rachel maddow. welcome back. >> thank you very much my friend. thank you for welcoming me back and thank you for being nice to joy while she was here. she did an amazing job. i felt very well taken care of. >> she crushed it. >> i could leaf tve the show, w away and nobody would notice i was gone. >> people noticed, joy crushed it and we're glad you're back. >> it is great to be back. i was on vacation for the past week and a bit. joy reid and the whole staff here did a great job of holding
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down the fort while i was gone and i'm grateful to have had that time off. i'm also happy to be back. today is august 8th. on this date three years ago, in 2014, a man named michael flynn was starting his new life as one of the highest profile firings of the obama administration. mike flynn of course is now famous for having served very very briefly as trump's national security adviser and also for being in the bull's eye of the ongoing trump-russia investigation ever since. but being trump's national security advisor was not the first high profile washington job that mike flynn had. he had been hired by the obama administration to run the defense intelligence agency. now, it didn't work out. it didn't go well. in the end he was perceived to have been a failure at that job. and by this week, in the summer of 2014, three years ago, he was gone. this was actually his first day
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after being fired three years ago today. forced out well in advance of how long he had been expected to stay. in that brief period, though, when michael flynn was running the defense intelligence agency during the obama administration, that agency did make really big news. it was news that seemed very alarming at the time. set off days and arguably weeks of something approaching panic in the press and in national security circles. the reassuring news, looking back on it now, is that that super scary news from mike flynn's defense intelligence agency back april 2013, when he was still running that agency, that scary news from him and his agency turned out to be wrong. it seemed very scary at the time but it was wrong. >> today in the midst of all of this we learned with many caveat what is north korea may be capable of. a member of congress for the first time in an open hearing
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read a classified study by our own defense intelligence agency. they can now say with moderate confidence, quote, the north currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivering by ballistic missiles. >> that was not news tape from today. that was from the spring of 2013, when the defense intelligence agency under mike flynn set everybody's hair on fire. a republican member of congress, doug lambborn read aloud a previously classified conclusion from the defense intelligence agency which was then headed by mike flynn and that conclusion was that north korea had achieved basically the holy grail in terms of its ability to threaten the continental united states. that dia report back in 2013 said that the north koreans had completed the process of miniaturizing a nuclear weapon so it could fit on to a ballistic missile so they could shoot it off anywhere in world. and that set off a flurry of not
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quite panic but something approaching that until people realized wait a second, maybe that's not true. at the time the director of national intelligence had to come out and say yes, this may be what mike flynn and his intelligence agency concluded but according to the dni, it is not the consensus of the nation's community. the director of intelligence had to put out a written statement explaining that mike flynn and dia they were alone on this and furthermore they were wrong on this. they put out a written statement saying, quote, north korea has not yet demonstrated the full range of capabilities necessary for a nuclear armed missile. so everybody frequented oaked o then maybe not. then things cooled down for when the south koreans came out and threw water on what mike flynn
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reported. the south koreans are in a position to know given their acute interest in the matter, given their proximity to the problem at home. south korea yann defense ministry came out and say no, we have doubt that north korea has reached the stage of miniaturization. so that story in 2013 started off as a worry about north korea story. it ended up being a worry about our defense intelligence agency story. and the defense intelligence agen agency, it was not just a mike flynn thing. they already had a difficult reputation on matters like this. you might remember that was the agency that argued more than any other intelligence agency that iraq had nuclear weapons before the u.s. invasion of iraq in 2003. at the time not only did iraq not even have nuclear weapons, they did not have a nuclear program. but dia insisted they had. dia had been wrong about that
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ten years earlier ahead of the iraq war, they were wrong about north korea miniaturizing the nukes thing ten years later, 2013. and not long thereafter the head of the dia, mike flynn sfoufoun himself on 0 his ear. now it's 2017 and the "washington post" just published what looks like basically a carbon copy of that screwed up store trifrom mike flynn's agency four years ago citing a new analysis completed last month by the defense intelligence agency. reporting that dia's confidential assessment is that north korea successfully prod e produced a miniaturized war head that can fit inside its missiles. this seems like the exact same thing we went through in 2013 minus the mike flynn. it's the same intelligence agent we, dia and again we've got some
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indications from sources elsewhere in the intelligence world that maybe this is just dia, maybe not everybody. one u.s. official telling cnn tonight this is not a consensus view from the entire intelligence community. so if you're feeling like you've heard this story before today, and if you have experienced this freak out before and it turned out not to be true, you're,ing that right. there are lots of reasons to be skeptical here. we've heard this story before when it turned out not to be the case. but last time, in 2013, the south korean defense ministry came out and say no, we don't think this is true. this time we're not hearing any words of caution from credible foreign intelligence agencies like that. this time, to the contrary, the defense ministry in japan just today published a white paper saying actually this could be true. japan's defense ministry said today, quote, it is possible
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that north korea has achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons. so, i mean, we have heard this story before and it wasn't true the first time we heard it. but this time there isn't anybody shooting it down aggressively like there was in 2013. and this year there is some soft or at least potential corroboration from japan which, like south korea, would be in a position to know. i mean, this also comes at a time when we're getting used to undisputed reports, proof from north korea that they're making significant progress on other aspects of their capability. they've set off a missile tests that have shown genuine advancement in terms of how far out in the world they can project force. in may they shot a weapon up in the air that went 12 miles. u.s. officials said if they had aimed it as more of an angle, it could have conceivably been
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through 3,000 miles. that sounds like a s.a.t. math problem, if you change the angle, how far does it -- it sounds like a math prop. but when reuters reported this evening that north korean state media tonight is broadcasting musings from that government that they might launch a strike at guam, well that 3,000-mile math problem becomes a real thing. guam is just over 2,000 miles from north korea. and if north korea can really provably shoot missiles that far, that means the answer to that math problem, fit's true, means that guam is within their reach. not with some weapon they might develop in the future or that he might have intelligence fights about how soon they're going to develop it in the future but with a weapon they have now, demonstrated now. have they reached a pint where they can shrink one of their nuclear war heads and affix it to one of those missiles? i don't know.
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we don't know if they have the capacity with any of their missile to survive reentry from the upper atmosphere, the height that an icbm reaches during its fight. if they can build that missile and shrink the war head to fit it on to a missile like that, we don't know if they can do all of those things at once. you can get granular. the threat that the united states is worried about would require them to do a whole buchblg of things that we don't know if they can do. to shrink the nuclear war head, to link tight an icbm, successfully launch and control the icbm so it can hit the target. that missile has to survive reentry into the atmosphere with its war head intact and they need to be able to do all f 0 those things at once with the same piece of technology and avoid us shooting it down. and obviously there is great interest in our country in knowing whether or not they can do that now or how soon they might be able to do all of that
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if that's what they're trying for. but we have had relatively recent experience of spending days and weeks and months in this country freaking out over u.s. intelligence reports on that capacity that turned out first to be contested and then not to be true. and the reason our intelligence about them is often such a mess is because even more than most despond dent countries with, they're opaque. they're a mystery just because of their deliberate secrecy and also because they seem so nuts to us on a diplomatic level. presumably that is on purpose. they don't want to be seen as a narm rational country and they don't behave as one. there's a reason they don't engage in the threats that normal countries issue to each other. they threaten to turn an island off the coast of south korea into a nuclear sea of fire. remember when that come dame
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kout, that movie "the interview"? north korea called that the most blatant act of terrorism and war. they said it was a reckless u.s. provocative insanity, said that movied trickered hate and rage amongst the north korean people. they threatened measures against the movie. they said that the united states looks like a boiled pumpkin. they used all sorts of racist terms to talk about president obama and they've become famous for making threats like crazy people make threats. right? this was just this week. they should be mindful -- this is about us -- they should be mindful that the strategic steps accompanied by physical action will be taken mercilessly with the organization of all of its strength. packs of wolves are coming in to strangle a nation. that was this week. what does that mean in there
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have so many scary things about wolves. but wolves strangling people? wolves are going to come in and bite your face ore steal your baby wu wolves coming in and strangling you? they don't even have hands. it's saying you're going to stab somebody in their sense of humor. wolfe paws can scratch you but they can't grab like -- it doesn't even -- they're not looechb leven literal. but that kind of mixed metaphor threatening, that is something they've been doing for years. we're ak matcclimated to it. and the world is ak sccclimated that too. what the world is not acclimated to is an american president doing his version of the same thing. >> north korea best not make any more threats to the united
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states. they will be met with fire and furry like the world has never seen. he has been very threatening beyond a normal statement. and as i said, they will be met with fire, furry and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before. thank you. >> no, thank you. i mean as a world we're not happy about it but we're used to north korea threatening to turn things into a sea of fire. we are not used to that from an american president, from me american president. so this, as the new variable in what is already an insane relationship, this is genuinely new. as is the just wild incoherence of the administration beyond the president in terms of how they're handling this ongoing big problem, this international threat. two and a half weeks ago mike
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pomp yo said in a security forum that basically yes, the united states wants regime change in north korea. then last week trump secretary of state rex tillerson said the united states definitely does not want regime change in north korea. that said later in the week rex tillerson said the u.s. would talk with north koreans provided that the north koreans agreed that the end result of the talks would be them giving untheir nuclear program. now rex tillerson has a whole set of different standards they would have to reach in order to get talks with the united states. he's changed his mind on that as well. now he will talk to the north koreans as long as they stop doing their missile test. mike pence is busy saying there won't be talks with north korea. we won't talk with them on any terms. and then the president, depending on the day says that kim jong sun a smart cookie and the united states is prepared to rain down fire and furry like
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the world has never seen and we'll strangle you with our wolf paws. that was the other guy. remember when trump said he was sending an armada to north korea when there were no ships sailing to north korea at all? north korea popping off official statements that threaten nuclear annihilation is something we's acclimated to. the american president making the same kind of threats is a new thing. we don't know if he means it. we don't any if this was a planned statement by the administration where the national security consequences of this threat from the president have been gamed out and a anticipated and it's part of a strategy or maybe this is something he felt like saying. remember when mike flynn was national security adviser. he came out in the briefing room and said iran, you're on notice. nobody had any idea what that meant. it was completely dislocated from everything else that the administration was doing with regard to iran. tushd out it meant nothing and two weeks later mike flynn was gone. poof.
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is that what's going on here with this unprecedented threats to north korea or is this part of a plan. where would we look for planning evidence if it is a plan? how about the national enquirer? that's a blunt translation how trump would like the world to see him. it's a bizarre thing but if you're looking for something to strike your tuning fork, this is a supermarket tabloid that shows you more often than not exactly the way that trump would like to be seen. i mean this is what the national enquirer looks like now, trump takes charge, success in just 36 days. president trump tell all. how i'm cleaning up obama's mess. sense the election mixed in with all of these fox and friends style stuff, they repeatedly keep going back to trump declaring war on dictators. there's kim jong-un on the cover
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of the national enquirer. what did trump talk about at his secret summit with vladimir purten that only the national enquirer is reporting on, he talked about his plan to overthrow the dictator in north korea. this is a recent one. nope. wrong. do you have the other headline there? we have one from -- we don't have last -- we will post it later. from last month there was -- the cover said underseenl. made it look like trump was under siege. but in the small print, the ones under siege are the north koreas with icbms aimed at america's north cost. he's outfoking the north korean dictator. how he will solve the missile crisis just like jfk. where do you look to figure out what the president just did as part of a plan, as an aberration, something he had a feeling to say in the moment or something part of the way he
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sees his presidency as going. we have no idea what's going on inside the president's head and we don't know whether it's inside his head alone or whether it's a plan of his administration. but we really have never had an american president playing i'm rubber you're glue with the north koreans in terms of their threats for nuclear holocaust. so there's a brand new total unprecedented crazy problem in the u.s.-north korean relationship that for the first time includes our own government. and you can take that separate and apart from the truly unanswered contested questions as to whether or not north korea has got nuclear tipped icbms that could hit the mainland united states. it's worth asking for second were third, fourth sources on intelligence like that because that's been such contested intelligence in the past. even if the new intelligence being reported today, even if it turns out to not be true in terms of that they've already miniaturized nuclear weapons, we know they've got artillery,
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short range and long range missiles that could easily devastate south korea and japan. we know they've got major stocks of chemical and biological weapons. you remember the assassination of kim jong-un's brother at the airport. they carried out that assassination with vx. they are a chemical and biological weapons known power. they could put nerve agent on to some of the weapons we know for sure they've got. if they were able to successfully hit a city like tokyo, they means they would be hitting a population center of over 30 million people. tokyo's metropolitan area has a population akin to california's. north korea first tested a nuclear weapon in 2006. we know they've got some nuclear capacity. there's definitely intrigue and mystery as to the full extent of their nuclear capability. the number their weapons, how advanced they are, how they could be delivered. but separate and apart from
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that, the radical confusion and lying and internal contradiction and threats from our new government, in our new administration, that is really the new element here. that is the new variable here that we have no idea how it's going to affect us. regardless of the extent of their nuclear capability, newly called into question today, what our new administration is doing with this new maybe strategic, maybe off the handle attack on north korea, this rhetorical attack on north korea from the president, the only thing we know for sure is they're playing with absolutely untheoretical fire by advancing the conflict in this way. this is joanne.
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guam is 14 hours ahead of american east coast time, so it's mid morning there tomorrow, mid morning wednesday. right now guam mainians aredy guesting the news first reported to night that north korea is considering a plan to hit guam. according to reuters reporting there have been discussions that north korea may launch a strike against guam. guam of course would be physically the closest way for north korea to hit u.s. territory if they tried to do it. associated press is reporting tonight that the speaker of the legislature in guam is calling the news very disconcerting saying, quote, we're praying that the united states and the defense system we have here is sufficient enough to protect us. how significant are their concerns, how significant should they be? joining us, a president of the
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global security administration and he's the guy when i call when anything scary and nuclear happens in the world. thank you for being here tonight >> my pleasure, rachel. >> when "washington post" reported today that according to a defense intelligence agency report north korea has achieved miniaturization of its nuclear war heads, that they can put them on missiles, what was your reaction to that news? how do you perceive those reports? >> it was a little by of deja vu. this is not uncommon coming from the dia. they tend to be a little more hawkish, speculative. i was a little surprised because the vice chairman of the joint chiefs just a few days ago was emphasizing the hurdles that north korea has to achieve before it can have a reliable intercontinental nuclear missile. i think they're several years away but they're on the road, on the track. it's not all that surprising.
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whether they have it or will have it in a year or will have it in two years, this is a real threat. this is a very serious program. >> whether or not the north koreans have significant new capability that we didn't know about before, whether or not this dia report turns out to be true, seems to me the thing that is very new this terms of understanding this as a dynamic between our two countries is the behave your of the administration, particularly the rhetoric today, the threat from president trump. how do you think that plays out? what effect do you think that has as a variable in this? >> this is probably the worst way a president can handle a threat like this. you want to be strong, you want to be calm, resolute. you want to be in sync with your allies. you do not want to play nuclear chicken with north korea. this is -- the seriousness of this situation could not be overestimated, not because north korea can hit us in a bolt out of the blue attack that could take out los angeles or seattle.
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no. what you're worried about is that you have two insecure inexperienced impulsive leaders in control of a vast amount of destructive force squaring off in the most heavily militarized area on earth. a conventional war could kill hundreds of thousands of south koreans in the first few hours. a full-out conflict could till millions, could devastate south korea, remove the 11th largest economy on earth. and the danger isn't that either leader would start the war but they could stumble into it, a miscalculation, a miscommunication, a misunderstanding. look at what north korea just did. they just threatened guam hours after the president of the united states said that if you threaten us again you'll be met with fire and fury. they're blowing through this president's red lines like tissue paper.
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what is trump going to do now? >> when the north koreans make threats to the united states it's something that's treated comedically in this country because they're over the top. the rhetoric is so hyperbolic that we end up sort of getting used to it and treating it like it's a joke. president trump echoed that today by saying we're going to be unleashing furry a fury and . is there something to be said for him speaking their language? is there anything that we know about how they might hear that type of language that has never been uttered by an american president in the modern era toward the north koreans about anything? >> they see it as justification of their worst fears. the whole point of the united states is to eliminate kim jong- jong-un. they think the whole world resolves around them. when the president threatens
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them they say see, we told you so. years of sanctions, of isolation, of ignoring them hasn't worked at all. that is not stopping their program. it's sped it up. the only thing that has worked is negotiations. we froze their plow tonian program for years with an agreement. but when we don't talk to them, they speed it up. and when you threaten them, they just stiffen. they feel that they have to be tougher than you are back. so that's a chicken game that you can't win. and that's what the problem is. what if donald trump decides that he doesn't like the under tatakin undertaking. what if the north koreans decide that that is actually a pretext for a pre-emptive attack on them and they mobilize, the u.s. responds, somebody fires something and bang, it's off to the races and the most catastrophic war we've seen.
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we've been in war for 16 years in the middle east and africa. we think we know war. we don't know this war. we don't know what a korean war would look like. the president is right about that. a korean war would be one unlike anyone has seen since the end of world war ii. >> thank you for being here my friend. appreciate your help tonight. thanks. all right much for ahead tonight. busy news night including some breaking news in the investigation into russia's attack on our election that involves the trump campaign specifically. we've got that ahead. stay with us. ) and these are th. (class) ewwww! (boy) sorry. (dad) don't worry about it. (mom) honey, honey, honey, honey! (vo) at our house, we need things that are built to last. that's why we got a subaru. (avo) love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. get 0% apr financing for
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we just got some breaking news this evening courtesy of bloomberg news. did we make a full screen out of this? could we put the headline up there? trump campaign turns over thousands of documents in russia probe. bloomberg reporting that former trump campaign chair paul manafort and donald trump jr. has started turning over documents as the committee requested that they turn over all records in the campaign's attempts to get information about hillary clinton from the russian government. that includes documents related to the june meeting last year at trump tower involved manafort, jared kushner, donald trump jr. and a whole bunch of russians. hundreds of documents from paul manafort and don jr. were handed over to senate intelligence in
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response to the request. according to the new reporting, the big ka hoonah is neither of them. the trump campaign quoting with the trump campaign turned over about 20,000 pages of documents on august 2nd, according to a committee spokesman. we knew that the leaders of senate intelligence, chuck grassry and diane feinstein they requested that these documents be handed over by that date, august 2nd of last week. we knew that paul manafort has previously turned over different document to that committee. but this report is new. this is the first evidence that both the president's eldest son don jr. and paul manafort turned over documents related to that meeting with all of those russian sources that we heard about last summer. and this is the first word that the size of the document response numbers in the tens of thousands of pages. that news just break in the last
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this happened. this was first reported while i was away on vacation and i will admit to to being slightly out of it deliberately while on vacation.
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that's what vacation is all about. look at me not reading the news. but even still, when i read this thing that came out on friday, it did night make any sense to me then. and sense friday it has been further reported out and now it really doesn't make any sense to me and i would like for it to make sense. we're going to try to figure it out. okay. on friday i was on a fishing boat. politico.com reported that two unnamed staffers from the intelligence committee in the house turned up in england. they turned up in london. politico reported that specifically they turned up at the offices of the lawyer of christopher steele, the former mi 6 british agent that put together the alleged russian dirt on donald trump that's been boomeranging about our politics and the first months of the trump presidency ever since. the committees investigating that, the committees have made it clear that they would be interested in talking to
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christopher steele at some point in their inquiries. the news that these two congressional staffers who turned up at christopher steele's lawyer's office, nobody knew why they were there and nobody knew who sent them. they were two republican congressional staffers. the democrats on that committee said they had no idea what this was about. they had no idea that these staffers had made that trip or what they were doing on that trip. nor did any members of the senate intelligence committee, which is investigating these same matters, nor did robert mueller's office, the special counsel's office, robert mueller who is supposedly carefully deconflicting. so they're talking to witnesses and requesting documents and stuff doesn't mess with his criminal investigation. he didn't know these people were going to turn up at steele's office either. so politico reported friday that these two republican staffers
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showed up unannounced in london at steele's office, democrats on that committee didn't know anything about it. they also reported that the senate investigators didn't know about it, they were lived when they found out about it worried that the aggressive move could spook christopher steele and derail his cooperation with their own probe. that was provocative reporting from politico on friday. and this weekend on sunday, the top democrat on the intelligence committee, adam schiff, confirmed that not only did he not know about these republican staffers taking a trip to steele's office, he further reported that the top republican who supposedly is in charge of the russia investigation, congressman mike conway, he didn't know about it either. staffers for that committee going over there at part of the investigation, the guy running the investigation doesn't know
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about it? mueller's office didn't know it and the republicans running the investigation in the house committee that the staffers worked for didn't know about it either. what the heck were those republican staffers doing at christopher steele's office in london then. thanks to the guardian newspaper today we know more. the guardian reports that these two staffers from the house intelligence committee who went to london to turn up unannounced at christopher steele's office, they were sent there by a long standing aid to devin nunez. member of the trump transition. de devin nunez who stepped aside from leading the nfths after his weird stunt where he tried to claim that the real problem is the obama administration. he is there for supposedly not involved in the russia investigation.
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how is it that his long time staffer is dispatching people at taxpayer expense to go doorstop christopher cele's office in london in a way that might screw up all of the other investigations into the dossier part of the trump-russia story. and he's able to send those folks off without the knowledge of any of the folks involved in the investigation, including robert mueller, the democrats and the republican congressman who is supposed to be running that investigation in that committee. how did that happen? what were devin nunez's guys doing in london showing up and announced at christopher steele's office. joining us is the author of the guardian report that devin knnuz was behind this afelt. describing at as a secret attempt, i'm flummoxed that nobody knew about it.
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why does congressman nunez have the ability to dispatch people in this way? >> he's still the chairman of the house intelligence committee overall even though she's stepped asides from the russia investigation. he still has control over resources, obviously the staff director has worked for him since 2003. so obviously a nunez man in place. and he has the ability to use the resources and dispatch staffers. but it is incredibly unusual for this to happen for a foreign trip without other members of the committee being informed. this is way out of the norm. >> do we have any idea what those staffers did once they went to steele's offices? we understand from your reporting that they -- and from politico's reporting that they turned up unannounced, that they spoke not directly with mr. steele although he was there at the time. they tried to speak with his lawyer. do we know what they were asking for, wh they were trying to do.
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>> the official line given to me by the committee is they were just seeking to open a line of communication to the lawyers. and that seems odd in that it's possible to just pick up the phone or do a google search to find out the contacts and open up a line of communication. what i was also told is they were there on other business but it wasn't made clear to me what that other business was. a lot of mystery about this trip. >> i have to say one of the things that's further surprised me after your reporting is that even the democrats on the committee who have been quite outspoken, haven't been shy at all in terms of talking about the way they want this investigation run, they haven't, they haven't raised a huge stink about this. there's been more bewilderment expressed rather than anger. do you have any insight into that reaction or the way this is being received by everybody else involved in the investigations?
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>> my sense is that the ranking democrat on the committee, adam schiff just wants to get past this. he believes he has a good working relationship with mike conway. he wants that to continue. and he doesn't want to be derailed in a big fight with nunez over control of the committee. he believes that between him and conway they can keep this investigation on the rail and not be derailed by nunez and by an internal fight. >> julian, last question for you. do you have any sense of whether we ever will see christopher steele testifying or handing over documents or in other ways working with any of these investigations either in congress or in the special couns counsel's office? >> i think it's unlikely as things stand now that he would come over to testify. i think it's more likely that he might be open to answering questions in london and schiff
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and conway have expressed willingness to go there to talk to him. it's possible that that could happen. >> in which case it makes it all the more weird that those staffers turned up ahead of him. julian, great reporting on this. thank you for helping us understand it. >> thank you. >> much more tonight. stay with us.
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there are two stories we've
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been watching unfold tonight and i would like perspective from a well-sourced pentagon reporter. the first story is that defense intelligence agency purport lid reported that north korea can miniaturize their warheads and put them on missiles. dia said that four years ago as well as turned out not to be true then. what if the pentagon say now about this new reporting that looks so much like that debunk report from 2013? that's one. the other thing i want to ask about are the wild reports that trump administration is actively considering sending a for-profit private army into afghanistan to run that war as a for-profit mission instead of having the u.s. military run it. sounts like sounds like an onio article but that is our life now.ds like an onion article but that is our life now. courtney, thank you so much for your time. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me.
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>> i'm guessing you can dispatch more quickly, is the trump administration, is the pentagon seriously considering hiring eric prince of blackwater fame to run the afghanistan war as private mission? >> so you may recall that back in early july the "new york times" first reported about steve bannon one of president trump's close advisors setting up a mission on a saturday at the -- sorry, setting up a meeting on a saturday between secretary of defense jim mattis and eric prince, founder of blackwater, and high level executive at dyn corps to talk about this very thing. the "new york times" reported it was actually the white house was pushing this idea and it seems like it was really more steve bannon but secretary mattis took the meeting. a couple days later, secretary mattis came down to the press corps area and we asked him about it and he said we meet with a lot of different people. but defense officials afterward said yeah he met with them but it wasn't a real consideration. now eric prince seems to be
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shopping this idea around again. he's been -- he's done media interviews today. did this extensive interview with usa today where he talked under a lot of specificity about this potential plan including more than 5,000 private contractors, many of them former special operations forces and this own private civilian air force that would be used to replace the u.s. military who are currently operating in afghanistan. they do advising of the calf began military. and this all comes of course on the heels of this -- of all of us waiting for the south asia strategy which we expected to come out weeks if not months ago but obviously administration just can't agree on a way forward in afghanistan aept region. >> is there any reason to believe that the pentagon and secretary mattis in particular are taking a second look at this? any less dismissive than before? it is one thing for the prince to go on a pr tour. it is another thing to get an audience that's receptive.
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>> i think coming with secretary mattis they would consider it. but i'm not getting any ipdcations that this is getting any real backing from people in the military or at pentagon. the problem is at this point we have ideas thrown forward that we tlaut would be announced by now of several thousand more u.s. troops going into afghanistan to supplement the mission. general nicholson spoke very open about it in february saying he needed several thousand more troops. what is particularly surprising is the idea that the completely different plan is submissive of the general, the man on the ground there for more than 18 months now. >> let me ask you about the news we have been following all night. not just this reported dia conclusion and assessment that north korea has miniaturized nuclear warhead. we have obviously heard that from dia in the past. a report that turned out not to be true four years ago but we
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have also seen this threat from the president. basically threatening force against north korea. does that appear to have been an off the cuff threat from the president or did that come as part of a strategy? >> i don't get the sense it was any part of a strategy at all. what it is is this building rhetoric between u.s. and north korea. which we saw kim jong-un respond to. he said capability of hitting guam for some time now and the u.s. has responded with by building up a military presence there. even more than existed by putting forward some b-1 bombers that fly this continuing bomber presence into and over the treeian peninsula regularly. so this seems to be more rhetoric on both sides at this point. >> courtney kuby, i appreciate your time tonight, thank you. >> thank you you. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. ou. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. u. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. . >> we'll be right back. stay with us. . >> we'll be right back. stay with us. for your heart...
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your brain. with an ingredient originally found in jellyfish, prevagen is now the number one selling brain health supplement in drug stores nationwide. prevagen. the name to remember. it is great to be back from vacation. i missed every single one of you every single day. kind of. but i swear i'll be back tomorrow. now time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." good evening, lawrence. >> kinda. kinda. oh rachel. so nice. >> i just -- >> then you just pulled it back a little bit. >> i want you to know that as a general manner, generally speaking, i missed everybody everyday. but i want to be clear that i'll always be honest with you as well. >> oh, so it was all there. >> one of those things that actually supports the integrity of the statement. >> i hope so.

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